Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:3)
God’s View Of Parenting
Fear, reverence, and respect are words that describe the way the Jews viewed the Sabbaths of the Lord according to the Law of Moses. There was no greater day in the life of the Jewish community than the Sabbath as a day to be kept holy. The Sabbath reminded the people of the power of the Lord to deliver them from bondage as when they came out of Egypt. It would be a day to consider the power of God as He provided all things necessary for life including the protection of His might against the enemies of Israel. As part of the Decalogue given to Moses at Sinai, keeping the Sabbath was a restriction imposed by the word of the Lord as the words of the covenant for the Jews. They were to keep the Ten Commandments as part of the Law of Moses in its completeness with penalties attached for those who disobeyed. The Ten Commandments included a law of respect for parents that followed the keeping of the Sabbath. After the failed invasion of Canaan and the decree of the Lord that Israel would wander in the wilderness for forty years, a man was found picking up sticks on the Sabbath and brought before Moses. Putting him under guard, the people inquired what should be done with him. The Lord spoke to Moses and told him the man must be put to death by the hand of all the congregation as they stoned him with stones. The man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath was taken outside the camp and stoned to death. This impressed upon the mind of all those who were commanded to stone the man to death the reverence given to the word of the Lord concerning His Sabbaths. There would be no question how the Lord felt about the people honoring the Sabbath as a holy day. It is to this significant act of reverence the Lord attaches the regard children should have toward parents.
The Lord instructed Moses in the Law that the people should be holy because the Lord their God was holy. There is no doubt to the significance of holiness attached to the keeping of the Sabbaths and in the same context, the Lord shows His expectation of how the people fear, honor and reverence their mothers and fathers. Contained within the Law of Moses were penalties of death for those who dishonored their parents. If a child strikes their father or mother they were to be put to death. Cursing a parent would bring the penalty of death. Profaning the Sabbath was punished by death showing that God put respect of parents and reverence for the Sabbath on equal with one another. Reverence for the Sabbath was the same reverence expected for parents. There is no question of interpretation in the punitive requirements of the law concerning the Sabbath and respect for parents. God was very clear and the people understood the clarity of the law. The Law of Moses was given to the people who were brought out of Egypt and became a national law to Israel. It was not a law given to the Gentiles or any other nation. Keeping the Sabbath was significant only to the Hebrews and the laws attached to it were in keeping with the history of the nation of Israel. The Jews struggled to keep the law and showed the futility of the Law of Moses when the Lord sent them into the bondage of Babylon. Jesus came and put away the old covenant inscribed to the Jews and opened a pathway for the Gentiles to find salvation in the blood of Christ. The punitive laws of the Sabbath were done away when Christ died on the cross including the laws pertaining to putting to death children who cursed or abused their father or mother. What is learned from the study of the Law of Moses is how God feels about His people being holy and the families regard for parents. This has not changed and will never change.
In the Garden of Eden, the Creator ordained the home in a world of sinless perfection. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and took of the forbidden fruit, they ushered in the challenges of the home and the need for law. Before the giving of the Law of Moses, the Lord demanded respect for parents as much as He commanded men regarding murder. The Ten Commandments did not establish murder as a sin or disrespect for parents as sinful. This was in the mind of God from the beginning. Using the Law of Moses, the student of scripture can understand the value the Lord places on the home and the expectations of His people to honor the father and the mother. Children should be taught to revere their parents as much as they should be taught to honor the Lord because He is holy. One must be viewed as vital to salvation as the other. The New Testament teaches the principles of respect for parents as children obeying their fathers in the Lord. Revere the Lord and honor parents. This is the will of God.